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How to Balance Between PhD Thesis Writing and Job Search?

Balancing act: strategies for managing phd thesis writing and job search.

Dr. Sowndarya Somasundaram

thesis writing vs job search

Table of contents

1. set clear priorities:, 2. develop a realistic schedule:, 3. communicate with your advisor:, 4. leverage transferable skills:, 5. utilize networking:, 6. tailor your job search strategy:, 7. seek support from peers and mentors:, 8. embrace time management techniques:.

Pursuing a PhD is a significant undertaking that requires immense dedication, perseverance, and time. However, for many research scholars, the process is further complicated by the need to balance PhD thesis writing with the demands of searching for future job opportunities. It can be a challenge, but with careful planning, effective time management, and a proactive approach, it is possible to successfully achieve both endeavours. In this article, iLovePhD will explore practical strategies to help you strike a balance between writing your PhD thesis and conducting a job search.

  • The first step in managing your dual responsibilities is to establish clear priorities.
  • Determine the importance of each task and create a roadmap that outlines specific goals and timelines for both your thesis and job search.
  • This will provide structure and enable you to allocate your time and efforts accordingly.
  • Creating a well-structured schedule is crucial to ensure progress on both fronts.
  • Break down your thesis writing into manageable tasks, set deadlines, and allocate specific time slots for job search activities.
  • Be realistic about your time commitments, and remember to include self-care and relaxation to avoid burnout.
  • Maintaining open and effective communication with your PhD advisor is essential.
  • Inform them about your intention to pursue job opportunities and discuss strategies for balancing thesis writing and job search.
  • Your advisor’s guidance and support can be invaluable in helping you manage your time effectively and make informed decisions.
  • PhD students possess a wide range of skills that are highly valued in various industries.
  • Identify the transferable skills you have gained during your research journey and highlight them in your job applications.
  • Emphasizing these skills can enhance your employability and make your job search more focused.
  • Networking is a powerful tool in both thesis writing and job search endeavours.
  • Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars related to your field to expand your professional network.
  • Engage with fellow researchers, industry professionals, and potential employers to gain insights and create opportunities for future employment.
  • Recognize that your job search may need to be tailored to your circumstances as a PhD candidate.
  • Be flexible in your approach and consider part-time or freelance opportunities, internships, or postdoctoral positions that align with your research interests.
  • These options can provide valuable experience while allowing you to continue working on your thesis.
  • Connect with fellow PhD scholars who are also searching jobs to share experiences, tips, and resources.
  • Peer support can help alleviate stress and provide a sense of camaraderie.
  • Additionally, seek guidance from mentors, career advisors, or alumni who have successfully navigated the balance between thesis writing and job search.
  • Effective time management is key to achieving a healthy balance.
  • Consider utilizing techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, or task prioritization methods.
  • These methods can help you stay focused, maximize productivity, and maintain progress on both your thesis and job search.

Balancing the demands of writing a PhD thesis and conducting a job search is undoubtedly a challenging task. However, with careful planning, effective time management, and proactive strategies, it is possible to strike a balance between these two significant endeavours.

Remember to set clear priorities, communicate with your advisor, leverage transferable skills, network, tailor your job search strategy, seek support, and embrace time management techniques. By employing these strategies, you can navigate this crucial phase of your academic and professional journey with confidence and success. Good luck!

Also, Read 40 Part-Time Jobs Websites for PhD Scholars to Earn Extra Income!

Strategies for Managing PhD Thesis Writing and Job Search

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  • communication with advisor
  • peer support
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Dr. Sowndarya Somasundaram

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Part-Time Faculty: FMA 703 Graduate Seminar III: Thesis Writing (Spring 2024)

Syracuse University

  • Developing and/or updating a class syllabus.
  • Preparation of lectures, projects or other student assignments.
  • Maintaining regularly scheduled office hours.
  • Presenting instruction based on the competencies and performance levels of the course.
  • Meeting all designated class periods. If you are unable to meet your class due to illness or emergency, you should exercise your best effort to reschedule the class or to obtain a substitute. You must also notify the department chair of your absence and of your plan to cover the class.
  • Submitting completed mid-semester progress reports and final grades according to University regulations.
  • Grading student assignments and exams in timely manner.
  • Providing departmentally sanctioned forms for completed student evaluations.
  • Building a positive rapport with students and other faculty.

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Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

  • 4 minute read

Table of Contents

In your academic career, few projects are more important than your PhD thesis. Unfortunately, many university professors and advisors assume that their students know how to structure a PhD. Books have literally been written on the subject, but there’s no need to read a book in order to know about PhD thesis paper format and structure. With that said, however, it’s important to understand that your PhD thesis format requirement may not be the same as another student’s. The bottom line is that how to structure a PhD thesis often depends on your university and department guidelines.

But, let’s take a look at a general PhD thesis format. We’ll look at the main sections, and how to connect them to each other. We’ll also examine different hints and tips for each of the sections. As you read through this toolkit, compare it to published PhD theses in your area of study to see how a real-life example looks.

Main Sections of a PhD Thesis

In almost every PhD thesis or dissertation, there are standard sections. Of course, some of these may differ, depending on your university or department requirements, as well as your topic of study, but this will give you a good idea of the basic components of a PhD thesis format.

  • Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary that quickly outlines your research, touches on each of the main sections of your thesis, and clearly outlines your contribution to the field by way of your PhD thesis. Even though the abstract is very short, similar to what you’ve seen in published research articles, its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. The abstract is there to answer the most important question to the reviewer. “Why is this important?”
  • Introduction : In this section, you help the reviewer understand your entire dissertation, including what your paper is about, why it’s important to the field, a brief description of your methodology, and how your research and the thesis are laid out. Think of your introduction as an expansion of your abstract.
  • Literature Review : Within the literature review, you are making a case for your new research by telling the story of the work that’s already been done. You’ll cover a bit about the history of the topic at hand, and how your study fits into the present and future.
  • Theory Framework : Here, you explain assumptions related to your study. Here you’re explaining to the review what theoretical concepts you might have used in your research, how it relates to existing knowledge and ideas.
  • Methods : This section of a PhD thesis is typically the most detailed and descriptive, depending of course on your research design. Here you’ll discuss the specific techniques you used to get the information you were looking for, in addition to how those methods are relevant and appropriate, as well as how you specifically used each method described.
  • Results : Here you present your empirical findings. This section is sometimes also called the “empiracles” chapter. This section is usually pretty straightforward and technical, and full of details. Don’t shortcut this chapter.
  • Discussion : This can be a tricky chapter, because it’s where you want to show the reviewer that you know what you’re talking about. You need to speak as a PhD versus a student. The discussion chapter is similar to the empirical/results chapter, but you’re building on those results to push the new information that you learned, prior to making your conclusion.
  • Conclusion : Here, you take a step back and reflect on what your original goals and intentions for the research were. You’ll outline them in context of your new findings and expertise.

Tips for your PhD Thesis Format

As you put together your PhD thesis, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips that might keep you on track.

  • Don’t try to write your PhD as a first-draft. Every great masterwork has typically been edited, and edited, and…edited.
  • Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don’t get discouraged by this process. It’s typical.
  • Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.
  • You don’t have to necessarily work on the chapters and sections outlined above in chronological order. Work on each section as things come up, and while your work on that section is relevant to what you’re doing.
  • Don’t rush things. Write a first draft, and leave it for a few days, so you can come back to it with a more critical take. Look at it objectively and carefully grammatical errors, clarity, logic and flow.
  • Know what style your references need to be in, and utilize tools out there to organize them in the required format.
  • It’s easier to accidentally plagiarize than you think. Make sure you’re referencing appropriately, and check your document for inadvertent plagiarism throughout your writing process.

PhD Thesis Editing Plus

Want some support during your PhD writing process? Our PhD Thesis Editing Plus service includes extensive and detailed editing of your thesis to improve the flow and quality of your writing. Unlimited editing support for guaranteed results. Learn more here , and get started today!

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What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

Download Word template Download Google Docs template

Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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Tips for writing a PhD dissertation: FAQs answered

From how to choose a topic to writing the abstract and managing work-life balance through the years it takes to complete a doctorate, here we collect expert advice to get you through the PhD writing process

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Embarking on a PhD is “probably the most challenging task that a young scholar attempts to do”, write Mark Stephan Felix and Ian Smith in their practical guide to dissertation and thesis writing. After years of reading and research to answer a specific question or proposition, the candidate will submit about 80,000 words that explain their methods and results and demonstrate their unique contribution to knowledge. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about writing a doctoral thesis or dissertation.

What’s the difference between a dissertation and a thesis?

Whatever the genre of the doctorate, a PhD must offer an original contribution to knowledge. The terms “dissertation” and “thesis” both refer to the long-form piece of work produced at the end of a research project and are often used interchangeably. Which one is used might depend on the country, discipline or university. In the UK, “thesis” is generally used for the work done for a PhD, while a “dissertation” is written for a master’s degree. The US did the same until the 1960s, says Oxbridge Essays, when the convention switched, and references appeared to a “master’s thesis” and “doctoral dissertation”. To complicate matters further, undergraduate long essays are also sometimes referred to as a thesis or dissertation.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “thesis” as “a dissertation, especially by a candidate for a degree” and “dissertation” as “a detailed discourse on a subject, especially one submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a degree or diploma”.

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The title “doctor of philosophy”, incidentally, comes from the degree’s origins, write Dr Felix, an associate professor at Mahidol University in Thailand, and Dr Smith, retired associate professor of education at the University of Sydney , whose co-authored guide focuses on the social sciences. The PhD was first awarded in the 19th century by the philosophy departments of German universities, which at that time taught science, social science and liberal arts.

How long should a PhD thesis be?

A PhD thesis (or dissertation) is typically 60,000 to 120,000 words ( 100 to 300 pages in length ) organised into chapters, divisions and subdivisions (with roughly 10,000 words per chapter) – from introduction (with clear aims and objectives) to conclusion.

The structure of a dissertation will vary depending on discipline (humanities, social sciences and STEM all have their own conventions), location and institution. Examples and guides to structure proliferate online. The University of Salford , for example, lists: title page, declaration, acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents, lists of figures, tables and abbreviations (where needed), chapters, appendices and references.

A scientific-style thesis will likely need: introduction, literature review, materials and methods, results, discussion, bibliography and references.

As well as checking the overall criteria and expectations of your institution for your research, consult your school handbook for the required length and format (font, layout conventions and so on) for your dissertation.

A PhD takes three to four years to complete; this might extend to six to eight years for a part-time doctorate.

What are the steps for completing a PhD?

Before you get started in earnest , you’ll likely have found a potential supervisor, who will guide your PhD journey, and done a research proposal (which outlines what you plan to research and how) as part of your application, as well as a literature review of existing scholarship in the field, which may form part of your final submission.

In the UK, PhD candidates undertake original research and write the results in a thesis or dissertation, says author and vlogger Simon Clark , who posted videos to YouTube throughout his own PhD journey . Then they submit the thesis in hard copy and attend the viva voce (which is Latin for “living voice” and is also called an oral defence or doctoral defence) to convince the examiners that their work is original, understood and all their own. Afterwards, if necessary, they make changes and resubmit. If the changes are approved, the degree is awarded.

The steps are similar in Australia , although candidates are mostly assessed on their thesis only; some universities may include taught courses, and some use a viva voce. A PhD in Australia usually takes three years full time.

In the US, the PhD process begins with taught classes (similar to a taught master’s) and a comprehensive exam (called a “field exam” or “dissertation qualifying exam”) before the candidate embarks on their original research. The whole journey takes four to six years.

A PhD candidate will need three skills and attitudes to get through their doctoral studies, says Tara Brabazon , professor of cultural studies at Flinders University in Australia who has written extensively about the PhD journey :

  • master the academic foundational skills (research, writing, ability to navigate different modalities)
  • time-management skills and the ability to focus on reading and writing
  • determined motivation to do a PhD.

Socrates' methods can still help university student in the battle with misinformation

How do I choose the topic for my PhD dissertation or thesis?

It’s important to find a topic that will sustain your interest for the years it will take to complete a PhD. “Finding a sustainable topic is the most important thing you [as a PhD student] would do,” says Dr Brabazon in a video for Times Higher Education . “Write down on a big piece of paper all the topics, all the ideas, all the questions that really interest you, and start to cross out all the ones that might just be a passing interest.” Also, she says, impose the “Who cares? Who gives a damn?” question to decide if the topic will be useful in a future academic career.

The availability of funding and scholarships is also often an important factor in this decision, says veteran PhD supervisor Richard Godwin, from Harper Adams University .

Define a gap in knowledge – and one that can be questioned, explored, researched and written about in the time available to you, says Gina Wisker, head of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the University of Brighton. “Set some boundaries,” she advises. “Don’t try to ask everything related to your topic in every way.”

James Hartley, research professor in psychology at Keele University, says it can also be useful to think about topics that spark general interest. If you do pick something that taps into the zeitgeist, your findings are more likely to be noticed.

You also need to find someone else who is interested in it, too. For STEM candidates , this will probably be a case of joining a team of people working in a similar area where, ideally, scholarship funding is available. A centre for doctoral training (CDT) or doctoral training partnership (DTP) will advertise research projects. For those in the liberal arts and social sciences, it will be a matter of identifying a suitable supervisor .

Avoid topics that are too broad (hunger across a whole country, for example) or too narrow (hunger in a single street) to yield useful solutions of academic significance, write Mark Stephan Felix and Ian Smith. And ensure that you’re not repeating previous research or trying to solve a problem that has already been answered. A PhD thesis must be original.

What is a thesis proposal?

After you have read widely to refine your topic and ensure that it and your research methods are original, and discussed your project with a (potential) supervisor, you’re ready to write a thesis proposal , a document of 1,500 to 3,000 words that sets out the proposed direction of your research. In the UK, a research proposal is usually part of the application process for admission to a research degree. As with the final dissertation itself, format varies among disciplines, institutions and countries but will usually contain title page, aims, literature review, methodology, timetable and bibliography. Examples of research proposals are available online.

How to write an abstract for a dissertation or thesis

The abstract presents your thesis to the wider world – and as such may be its most important element , says the NUI Galway writing guide. It outlines the why, how, what and so what of the thesis . Unlike the introduction, which provides background but not research findings, the abstract summarises all sections of the dissertation in a concise, thorough, focused way and demonstrates how well the writer understands their material. Check word-length limits with your university – and stick to them. About 300 to 500 words is a rough guide ­– but it can be up to 1,000 words.

The abstract is also important for selection and indexing of your thesis, according to the University of Melbourne guide , so be sure to include searchable keywords.

It is the first thing to be read but the last element you should write. However, Pat Thomson , professor of education at the University of Nottingham , advises that it is not something to be tackled at the last minute.

How to write a stellar conclusion

As well as chapter conclusions, a thesis often has an overall conclusion to draw together the key points covered and to reflect on the unique contribution to knowledge. It can comment on future implications of the research and open up new ideas emanating from the work. It is shorter and more general than the discussion chapter , says online editing site Scribbr, and reiterates how the work answers the main question posed at the beginning of the thesis. The conclusion chapter also often discusses the limitations of the research (time, scope, word limit, access) in a constructive manner.

It can be useful to keep a collection of ideas as you go – in the online forum DoctoralWriting SIG , academic developer Claire Aitchison, of the University of South Australia , suggests using a “conclusions bank” for themes and inspirations, and using free-writing to keep this final section fresh. (Just when you feel you’ve run out of steam.) Avoid aggrandising or exaggerating the impact of your work. It should remind the reader what has been done, and why it matters.

How to format a bibliography (or where to find a reliable model)

Most universities use a preferred style of references , writes THE associate editor Ingrid Curl. Make sure you know what this is and follow it. “One of the most common errors in academic writing is to cite papers in the text that do not then appear in the bibliography. All references in your thesis need to be cross-checked with the bibliography before submission. Using a database during your research can save a great deal of time in the writing-up process.”

A bibliography contains not only works cited explicitly but also those that have informed or contributed to the research – and as such illustrates its scope; works are not limited to written publications but include sources such as film or visual art.

Examiners can start marking from the back of the script, writes Dr Brabazon. “Just as cooks are judged by their ingredients and implements, we judge doctoral students by the calibre of their sources,” she advises. She also says that candidates should be prepared to speak in an oral examination of the PhD about any texts included in their bibliography, especially if there is a disconnect between the thesis and the texts listed.

Can I use informal language in my PhD?

Don’t write like a stereotypical academic , say Kevin Haggerty, professor of sociology at the University of Alberta , and Aaron Doyle, associate professor in sociology at Carleton University , in their tongue-in-cheek guide to the PhD journey. “If you cannot write clearly and persuasively, everything about PhD study becomes harder.” Avoid jargon, exotic words, passive voice and long, convoluted sentences – and work on it consistently. “Writing is like playing guitar; it can improve only through consistent, concerted effort.”

Be deliberate and take care with your writing . “Write your first draft, leave it and then come back to it with a critical eye. Look objectively at the writing and read it closely for style and sense,” advises THE ’s Ms Curl. “Look out for common errors such as dangling modifiers, subject-verb disagreement and inconsistency. If you are too involved with the text to be able to take a step back and do this, then ask a friend or colleague to read it with a critical eye. Remember Hemingway’s advice: ‘Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.’ Clarity is key.”

How often should a PhD candidate meet with their supervisor?

Since the PhD supervisor provides a range of support and advice – including on research techniques, planning and submission – regular formal supervisions are essential, as is establishing a line of contact such as email if the candidate needs help or advice outside arranged times. The frequency varies according to university, discipline and individual scholars.

Once a week is ideal, says Dr Brabazon. She also advocates a two-hour initial meeting to establish the foundations of the candidate-supervisor relationship .

The University of Edinburgh guide to writing a thesis suggests that creating a timetable of supervisor meetings right at the beginning of the research process will allow candidates to ensure that their work stays on track throughout. The meetings are also the place to get regular feedback on draft chapters.

“A clear structure and a solid framework are vital for research,” writes Dr Godwin on THE Campus . Use your supervisor to establish this and provide a realistic view of what can be achieved. “It is vital to help students identify the true scientific merit, the practical significance of their work and its value to society.”

How to proofread your dissertation (what to look for)

Proofreading is the final step before printing and submission. Give yourself time to ensure that your work is the best it can be . Don’t leave proofreading to the last minute; ideally, break it up into a few close-reading sessions. Find a quiet place without distractions. A checklist can help ensure that all aspects are covered.

Proofing is often helped by a change of format – so it can be easier to read a printout rather than working off the screen – or by reading sections out of order. Fresh eyes are better at spotting typographical errors and inconsistencies, so leave time between writing and proofreading. Check with your university’s policies before asking another person to proofread your thesis for you.

As well as close details such as spelling and grammar, check that all sections are complete, all required elements are included , and nothing is repeated or redundant. Don’t forget to check headings and subheadings. Does the text flow from one section to another? Is the structure clear? Is the work a coherent whole with a clear line throughout?

Ensure consistency in, for example, UK v US spellings, capitalisation, format, numbers (digits or words, commas, units of measurement), contractions, italics and hyphenation. Spellchecks and online plagiarism checkers are also your friend.

Image of students being support to cross a gap in their learning

How do you manage your time to complete a PhD dissertation?

Treat your PhD like a full-time job, that is, with an eight-hour working day. Within that, you’ll need to plan your time in a way that gives a sense of progress . Setbacks and periods where it feels as if you are treading water are all but inevitable, so keeping track of small wins is important, writes A Happy PhD blogger Luis P. Prieto.

Be specific with your goals – use the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely).

And it’s never too soon to start writing – even if early drafts are overwritten and discarded.

“ Write little and write often . Many of us make the mistake of taking to writing as one would take to a sprint, in other words, with relatively short bursts of intense activity. Whilst this can prove productive, generally speaking it is not sustainable…In addition to sustaining your activity, writing little bits on a frequent basis ensures that you progress with your thinking. The comfort of remaining in abstract thought is common; writing forces us to concretise our thinking,” says Christian Gilliam, AHSS researcher developer at the University of Cambridge ’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Make time to write. “If you are more alert early in the day, find times that suit you in the morning; if you are a ‘night person’, block out some writing sessions in the evenings,” advises NUI Galway’s Dermot Burns, a lecturer in English and creative arts. Set targets, keep daily notes of experiment details that you will need in your thesis, don’t confuse writing with editing or revising – and always back up your work.

What work-life balance tips should I follow to complete my dissertation?

During your PhD programme, you may have opportunities to take part in professional development activities, such as teaching, attending academic conferences and publishing your work. Your research may include residencies, field trips or archive visits. This will require time-management skills as well as prioritising where you devote your energy and factoring in rest and relaxation. Organise your routine to suit your needs , and plan for steady and regular progress.

How to deal with setbacks while writing a thesis or dissertation

Have a contingency plan for delays or roadblocks such as unexpected results.

Accept that writing is messy, first drafts are imperfect, and writer’s block is inevitable, says Dr Burns. His tips for breaking it include relaxation to free your mind from clutter, writing a plan and drawing a mind map of key points for clarity. He also advises feedback, reflection and revision: “Progressing from a rough version of your thoughts to a superior and workable text takes time, effort, different perspectives and some expertise.”

“Academia can be a relentlessly brutal merry-go-round of rejection, rebuttal and failure,” writes Lorraine Hope , professor of applied cognitive psychology at the University of Portsmouth, on THE Campus. Resilience is important. Ensure that you and your supervisor have a relationship that supports open, frank, judgement-free communication.

If you found this interesting and want advice and insight from academics and university staff delivered direct to your inbox each week, sign up for the THE Campus newsletter .

Authoring a PhD Thesis: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Dissertation (2003), by Patrick Dunleavy

Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis (1998), by Joan Balker

Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles (2015), by Noelle Sterne

Emotions and learning: what role do emotions play in how and why students learn?

Decolonising the curriculum – how do i get started, use technology to make equine education inclusive, diversity statements: what to avoid and what to include, online learning is still challenging for students – they need our support, embrace ai tools to improve student writing.

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PhD thesis first draft: 8 practical writing tips for PhD students

PhD thesis first draft: 8 practical writing tips for PhD students

Many early career researchers will agree that the most difficult step in writing a PhD thesis is getting started. Students often find themselves mentally unprepared to take on this challenge as most formal training revolves around conducting research with little focus on how to write a PhD thesis. Uncertainty about the guidelines for PhD thesis writing and how to present their study in an engaging, impactful way often results in procrastination, self-doubt, and anxiety among otherwise confident researchers. The fact is students need to write a PhD thesis to complete their doctoral degree, and as ironic as it seems, the only remedy to this inertia is to meet this challenge head-on.

This article provides young researchers with practical tips to help them deliver a successful first draft when writing a PhD thesis.

  • Create an outline and structure: A good way to start writing a PhD thesis is to first create a draft outline or structure of your thesis. Like journal articles, a PhD thesis must have an introduction that presents the key points of your study in a compelling way, a body section that contains the main aspects of your research along with supporting data and evidence, and a conclusion that summarizes the thesis and provides additional insights or suggestions for further research. This first step is important because once you have the right structure in place, summarizing your thesis can happen more easily.  
  • Adhere to university or institutional guidelines: A common mistake that many students make while creating an outline and structure is not keeping in mind the guidelines for PhD thesis writing set by your university or institute. It’s important to adhere to the university or institute’s guidelines, for example the preferred structure or style of references, when writing a PhD thesis. Be sure to check with your supervisor to ensure that the word count, structure, citation style and other key elements of your thesis meet the recommended guidelines for PhD thesis writing.
  • Use active voice and avoid grammatical and spelling errors: It is important to focus on using simple language that’s free of complicated jargon when writing a PhD thesis. To ensure better readability, use active voice instead of passive voice and avoid long winding sentences. Be aware of and avoid spelling and grammar errors such as dangling modifiers, subject-verb disagreement, and parallelism in your work. You can use AI tools like Paperpal for Word , which offers real-time suggestions to help you improve your language right from the first draft itself.
  • Maintain consistency in your writing style: One of the most useful writing tips for PhD students is referring to the preferred style guide to ensure consistency in spellings, proper punctuation, correct hyphenation, and the right use of technical terms and phrases. Also check for consistency when it comes mentioning organizations and institutions, affiliations, references, legends and other key elements when writing a PhD thesis.
  • Be careful when citing or quoting text: With the sheer quantum of research reading required when writing a PhD thesis, it can be difficult to keep track of sources of information. It is also quite possible for students to inadvertently introduce plagiarism in their writing by using chunks of well-written text as is or quoting information without citing it correctly. So be sure to properly cite any sources of data that you’re using in your thesis, including text, images and figures to avoid any ethical misconduct.
  • Set a target deadline for completion : Another top writing tip for PhD students is to set a delivery date and stay committed to it. You can also share this goal with a broader set of people (peers, supervisor, friends, etc.), who will act as catalysts on the journey of writing your PhD thesis first draft and in the time you’ve set for yourself. It is critical however that the final deadline be realistic and take into account challenges that may come in the way of you achieving your goals.
Write your PhD thesis confidently with Paperpal’s AI writing assistant
  • Take time to make revisions and proofread before submission: This is one of the most important writing tips for PhD students, but one that often takes the back seat. Remember that no matter how clear your first draft seems about your research findings, argumentation and flow, there will always be room for improvement and especially to your first draft. Once you’re done with your first draft, be sure to revisit each chapter and make the necessary edits before sharing it ahead with your mentor for feedback. When planning your work, make sure to factor in ample time for editing and proofreading, so that all the work you put into writing a PhD thesis is polished before submission.
  • Remember it’s a first draft and not the final version: If you’re getting stuck with your writing, move on and start work on a different section; you don’t need to write in chronological order as long as you follow the structure you’ve created for yourself. Remember the cardinal rule when wondering how to write a PhD thesis – No one gets it right in the first draft itself. Capture your thoughts and findings as clearly and engagingly as possible in your first draft, don’t waste too much time striving for perfection at this stage. You can always fine-tune your writing and repeat this process as you go along, which can help you reach your writing goals faster.

Paperpal is an AI writing assistant that help academics write better, faster with real-time suggestions for in-depth language and grammar correction. Trained on millions of research manuscripts enhanced by professional academic editors, Paperpal delivers human precision at machine speed.

Try it for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime , which unlocks unlimited access to premium features like academic translation, paraphrasing, contextual synonyms, consistency checks and more. It’s like always having a professional academic editor by your side! Go beyond limitations and experience the future of academic writing. Get Paperpal Prime now at just US$12 a month !

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  • Confusing elements of a research paper that trip up most academics
  • Know the difference: Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing 
  • 4 Key writing styles and examples of academic writing  

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phd thesis writing jobs

How Writing Your PhD Thesis Can Keep You From Getting Post Grad Job Opportunities

phd thesis writing jobs

Written by Dora Farkas, PhD

It was already past 9 pm, and I decided to leave the crowded bar in downtown Boston.

After 2 hours of networking with professionals from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries , I was spent.

I collected about 15 business cards and I headed to the exit after storing them safely in my back pocket.

I was about to step out onto Washington Street when a young woman caught my eye.

She was sitting by herself at a corner table, sipping a glass of ginger ale, looking bored and confused at the same time.

I walked over to her table and reached out for a handshake.

“Hi, I am Dora,” I introduced myself. “I don’t think we’ve met yet.”

She stood up when she saw me.

“Hi, I am Sara,” she said with an awkward smile, shaking my hand. “You are the first person who said “Hi” to me tonight. Everyone else seems so busy.”

I sat down next to Sara, and I learned that she was a senior graduate student planning on defending her PhD thesis in Pharmacology in a few months.

I asked Sara how many networking events she’d been to.

“This is my first networking event,” she replied.

“ I’m an introvert and don’t like networking . I just came because my friend said she would be here, but she didn’t come. I’ve been here for half an hour already and was about to leave when you came over.”

Sara’s job searching strategy consisted of looking up job ads on the Internet and submitting her resume online.

“What kind of a job would you like?” I asked.

“Not sure,” she shrugged. “Wherever I can get a job with my background is fine.”

“Where do previous students from your department work?” I probed further.

“Umm…I think one went to Genzyme, but not sure what he does. I am just kind of busy writing my thesis and paper, so I don’t really keep track of where others ended up.”

“Did you know the fastest way to get an industry job is through a job referral from networking events or past connections ?” I replied. “Have you been in touch with alumni to see if someone could introduce you to someone who is hiring?”

“That’s so much work!” she said. “I thought if I got my thesis done and a first author publication, I would get a job pretty easily.”

Writing Your Thesis Will Not Help You Get A Job

Like most graduate students, Sara assumed that the key to getting a well-paid job in industry was to finish her thesis and publications as quickly as possible.

The idea that focusing solely on your thesis and publications will guarantee you a job in industry is a myth.

This myth has kept Sara and thousands of other graduate students from exploring careers and networking with professionals during graduate school.

The last two years of graduate school are the most critical time-period during your professional development as a research scientist.

This is your once in a lifetime opportunity to network as a graduate student and future industry professional.

After graduate school, you will no longer be a student. You will only be able to network as an industry professional, which will afford you less freedom in terms of pursuing information from your competitors.

Back at the networking event, I gave Sara my business card, which was the very first one she collected that night.

While Sara felt overwhelmed by all the time commitment that job searching required, she was surprised to learn that several obstacles in her graduate school experience (such as dead-end experiments, troubleshooting instruments, and conflicts in her group), could be reframed into transferable skills for careers in industry.

Why Your Job Search Is More Important Than Your Publications

In an ideal world, there would be plenty of openings for PhD-level researchers.

This would allow you to spend as much time as you needed writing your thesis and wrapping up your publications.

However, we are not living in an ideal world.

According to  a report by the Atlantic , greater than 60% of PhDs and greater than 80% of Life Science PhDs will NOT have a paying job at graduation.

With so many unemployed PhDs on the market, employers can be picky about whom to hire.

They don’t make hiring decisions based on technical expertise only.

Soft skills such as leadership skills, written communication, and assertiveness are valued just as heavily as technical skills during the hiring process.

Numerous studies including  these reported by the National Academies  show that interpersonal skills are measurable and important.

Several surveys including those by the Workforce Solutions Group, Adecco, and the ManpowerGroup,  reported in Upstart Business Journal , show that interpersonal skills matter more than technical skills no matter the profession.

Improving your interpersonal skills is important, but it’s only the first step.

The next step is leveraging your interpersonal skills to grow your network and get the industry position of your choice.

If you’re not networking aggressively during graduate school, you are falling behind.

phd thesis writing jobs

5 Ways To Prepare For Industry Jobs While In Graduate School

If you put all of your focus on your research during graduate school and neglect to explore other careers or develop skills that are valued in industry, you will leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table.

This is true for three reasons.

First, without a professional network or transferable skills, it will take you longer to find a job in industry.

Second, preparing for your career can help you to finish your thesis faster and get a job sooner.

Third, if you refuse to spend time determining which career paths are a good fit for your strengths, you are setting yourself up to get stuck in another dead-end career track.

Since most students enter graduate school assuming that they will stay in academia, they put too much focus on publishing papers and writing their thesis.

They fail to realize that they should be spending at least half of their time exploring other career paths and developing the transferable skills they need to succeed in these career paths.

Don’t assume that a great job will be waiting for you at the end of graduate school.

Don’t assume that your industry resume will speak for itself when you submit it online either.

If you want to find post grad job opportunities with a promising future, you need to take an active role in shaping your career path throughout graduate school, not just in your final year. Here’s how…

1. Network proactively and explore alternative career paths.

Most academics don’t like to network.

Some describe it as “insincere” or “using other people to get a job” and many graduate students don’t attend networking events until their final year when they realize that submitting resumes through the Internet is futile.

Given a PhD-level job search takes 6-12 months to successfully complete (or longer if you are in a competitive field), it is never too early to start networking at professional events or career workshops.

Even if graduation is several years away, information from professionals can help you to direct the course of your thesis research to pick up marketable technical and interpersonal skills to prepare for your career in industry.

Most importantly, when you meet industry professionals, you will see how many exciting career paths are available to PhDs.

This excitement will motivate you to continue working hard to finish your thesis and publications quickly.

2. Diversify your technical skills through new projects.

There are two ways to diversify your technical skills—by learning a new technique, or by finding a new application of a technique you already know.

When you have a diverse set of technical skills, you are more likely to find jobs that match your background.

However, it’s also important to stay within your general field of specialty so that you don’t seem “unfocused” on your resume or during your interview.

I worked in a mass spectrometry lab in graduate school and one of my labmates decided to learn cell culture through a small side-project to broaden his background.

While he received a job offer in a mass spectrometry lab, his understanding of cell culture differentiated him from the other candidates because he had a better understanding of the origin of his samples and how to prepare them for mass spectrometry.

Another labmate diversified his background by developing a new method for analyzing a different class of compounds on the mass spectrometer.

This new expertise allowed him to collaborate with others and as a result, he received three job offers because he had demonstrated his mastery of multiple analytical methods in mass spectrometry.

Both of my colleagues chose their strategy for diversification based on information they received from top industry professionals.

They networked aggressively and asked targeted questions about which skills are valued most in industry.

You can apply this same strategy to your job search.

When you network with professionals who are experts in your field, ask questions about how they apply the technical skills you are familiar with in their work, so you can shape the direction of your thesis or find a side project that will allow you to learn these marketable skills.

3. Practice scientific writing.

There are very few PhD-level scientist jobs that don’t require any writing.

Most scientists in industry have to write reports for internal records, to communicate with other companies, or to support documentation for the FDA or other regulatory agencies.

Since most scientists don’t enjoy writing, you will have an advantage over your peers during the hiring process and in your job if you have experience writing.

The most common way to get this experience in academia is through writing publications.

For example, many professors are asked to write review articles, and they are happy to pass on the responsibility to their graduate students, as they will still be listed as senior authors.

If writing a review article seems daunting (it usually takes 2-3 months of intense research), write summary reports of your progress for your committee meetings.

The key here is to use your writing for publications to gain experience that you can leverage during your job search, not to value getting published over your job search.

The practice of writing reports will help you to get into the habit of keeping good records of your methods and data, which is essential for career advancement in industry.

4. Practice assertive communication.

Whether or not your academic advisor is easy to get along with, it’s unlikely that you’ll agree on every issue.

When conflicts arise, most students become passive.

They go along with whatever their advisor suggests because they are afraid of confrontation and falsely believe that they need a recommendation letter from their advisor.

A few students take the opposite approach, choosing to have emotionally charged meetings where both parties feel disrespected and nothing gets resolved.

Assertive communication is a happy medium between these passive and overly aggressive styles.

By being assertive, you can work together to find a solution that is beneficial to both you and your advisor.

The ability to communicate assertively is invaluable for your career advancement because it’s required for leading teams, managing projects, and meeting company deadlines.  

If your academic advisor is a difficult person, it may be challenging to practice assertiveness, but you can view this situation as a chance to gain valuable industry experience.

In industry, you will need to work with many different personality types, some of whom may be more difficult than your academic advisor.

Use any challenging situation you face in graduate school as leverage to develop your industry skills.

By doing this, you will be in a better position to transition into industry when the time comes.

5. Take initiative and practice leadership skills.

Who wants to volunteer to take charge of a new project or lab cleanup when you already have so much to do?

The reality is that everyone in academia is busy, and no one wants to take on more work.

However, most interviewers will ask you to give examples from your work experience about leadership, teamwork, and conflict resolution.

If you bury yourself in your research, you will not be able to share stories that convey your strengths as a leader.

Worse yet, even if you do get the job, you will not have the skills to lead projects and meetings, and that could jeopardize your performance review and career advancement.

While you shouldn’t become everyone’s little helper and spend all your time volunteering, you should selectively volunteer for tasks that will improve your lab’s overall efficiency and effectiveness or projects that you’re passionate about.

The time that you invest in taking this initiative will help you pick up new skills, while also learning leadership skills.

If you re-frame your graduate school experiences and challenges into learning opportunities, you can make the most out of your years as a graduate student to prepare for a successful career and get an attractive job offer. After all, this is why you came to graduate school in the first place. The key is to value networking and the job search process overall above finishing your thesis and wrapping up your publications. By diversifying your technical skills through new projects, practicing scientific writing, and assertive communication, you can put yourself ahead of other PhD students who refuse to focus on anything beyond their thesis and publications.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists.  Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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Hi, I'm Isaiah Hankel, PhD

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phd thesis writing jobs


Dora Farkas received her Ph.D. from MIT in the Department of Biological Engineering and worked for several years in the pharmaceutical industry as a Senior Scientist. Dora is a thesis and career coach and the founder of the online Finish Your Thesis Program & Community, which has helped hundreds of graduate students finish their thesis.

Dora Farkas, PhD

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Is Cheeky Scientist a scam?   Has anyone here had any experience with the Cheeky Scientist Association? Is Cheeky Scientist worth it?  What’s the deal with Cheeky Scientist? Is Cheeky Scientist legit? PhDs are trained to be critical.  In academia and in life, every decision they’re faced with is made with extreme prejudice. Examining facts, collecting resources, and determining what is a trustworthy source of information is one of their biggest strengths.  PhDs have superior critical thinking skills, so it makes sense for them to carefully consider any investment – even if it’s an investment in themselves. And in almost every…

Should You Delete Your PhD From Your Resume? The Answer May Surprise You

Should You Delete Your PhD From Your Resume? The Answer May Surprise You

If you have a PhD, you’re overqualified for an industry job. PhDs are lab rats and can’t understand business. You can’t get a job without industry experience. Do any of these sentences sound familiar to you? Have you been looking for an industry job unsuccessfully and have reached a point where you ask yourself if your PhD has any value whatsoever? These sentences are myths, commonly said by either academics who don’t understand anything about industry, or by other job candidates who don’t want to compete with PhDs. Hiring managers for PhD-level industry positions want the best candidates possible. After…

4 Skills PhDs Have That Employers Are Desperately Seeking

4 Skills PhDs Have That Employers Are Desperately Seeking

The number of PhDs wanting to transition out of academia increases every year. Initially, most of these PhDs were recent graduates and postdocs.  But as the crisis in academia has gotten worse, we are seeing a lot of adjunct and even tenured professors wanting to leave. They feel professionally unfulfilled in academic positions because they are overworked, work in uninspiring roles, and/or are paid marginal academic stipends, fellowships, and wages.  Far too many PhDs are unable to find any meaning or joy in their academic careers, which negatively impacts both their professional and personal lives. Unfortunately, many of these PhDs end up…

The Exciting (or, Dreadful) First 90 Days Of A New Job. Here's What To Expect

The Exciting (or, Dreadful) First 90 Days Of A New Job. Here's What To Expect

Like many PhDs, I thought I could jump into my first industry position ready to hit the ground running. Much to my surprise, this was not the case.   During the first few months of my new position, I felt like I was drowning. Everything I thought I knew about my field, how research is conducted, and how companies operate was turned on its head. I was not prepared for this major shift, and it showed. I waivered between trying to impress my managers and sitting mute in meetings, intimidated by everyone in the room. If I had known what…

The Inside Scoop On The Industry Onboarding Process

The Inside Scoop On The Industry Onboarding Process

Nothing could prepare me for the shock I received walking into my first industry onboarding experience. Literally, everything was different from what I had experienced in academia. The processes, the culture, the pace – absolutely everything. I also had no idea what onboarding meant. I heard the word tossed around but, to me, it was just the process you went through to get all the mandatory paperwork out of the way. That was so far from the truth. My first onboarding experience lasted almost 6 months. Yet, throughout that whole process, I had no idea that I was still being…

The One Productivity Hack Every PhD Needs To Get Hired In Industry

The One Productivity Hack Every PhD Needs To Get Hired In Industry

If your job search isn’t producing results, perhaps you’re doing too little. Or, just as likely, you’re doing too much… too much of the wrong things. You may think “If I just spent more hours of the day searching and applying for jobs, I’m sure to land a job eventually.” But investing more time into a job search without a strategy is time wasted. An effective job search strategy is one that conserves our most precious resource: our mental energy.   Protecting your mental energy is the one productivity hack that every PhD needs to get hired in industry. As…

3 Factors PhDs Must Consider When Deciding Company Fit

3 Factors PhDs Must Consider When Deciding Company Fit

If you recently started your job search, you probably feel the pressure of proving that you’re a good fit for the industry roles you’re applying to.  You have to carefully craft your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile, and prepare for countless interviews just to prove you’re  qualified for a position.  This pressure can make you feel that employers hold all the power, and the only thing that matters is convincing them that you’re the best candidate for the role. Don’t let this pressure make you neglect other key components of a successful career, like company fit.  You’ll likely accept…

8 Work Qualities PhDs Should Assess When Planning A Career Move

8 Work Qualities PhDs Should Assess When Planning A Career Move

If you have a PhD, you’re among the 2% of the population who has committed to push a field of knowledge forward.  That makes you one of the most innovative people in the world. This is something special. As such, you deserve to work in a position where your tenacity and ability to solve problems are out of good use. Where you feel satisfied and are rewarded for your job. That’s why I encourage all PhDs to look for an industry position, because academia is a dead end where dreams go to die. However, you have to be strategic when…

Top Industry Career eBooks

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

63 Best Industry Positions For PhDs

Isaiah hankel, phd & arunodoy sur, phd.

Learn about the best 63 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah hankel.

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah hankel, phd.

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.

MIM Learnovate

How to Balance Between PhD Thesis Writing and Job Search?

phd thesis writing jobs

Pursuing a Ph.D. is a significant undertaking that requires immense dedication, commitment, and time. As you approach the final stages of your doctoral journey, you may find yourself juggling the demands of thesis writing and the search for your next career opportunity.

Balancing these two crucial aspects of your life can be challenging but certainly achievable with effective planning and organization.

In this blog post, we will explore practical strategies to help you strike a balance between completing your Ph.D. thesis and embarking on a successful job search.

Table of Contents

A PhD typically requires three to seven years to finish. This implies that earning your degree will take you almost ten years.

If you accept a job offer at the same time, you’ll probably have to take a break from writing your thesis at some point.

Read More: Types of PhD Guides

When do you quit your job and return to writing, is the question. When it comes to striking a balance while pursuing your PhD, there are no set guidelines to follow. You need to strike the ideal balance for your needs and the circumstances at hand.

1- Time Management

Time management is crucial when balancing thesis writing and job search. Here are some tips to help you optimize your time:

• Create a schedule: Establish a clear daily or weekly schedule that allocates specific time slots for thesis writing and job search activities. Stick to this schedule as much as possible to maintain consistency and productivity.

Read More: Timeline for Writing a Research Paper in a Month

•Prioritize tasks: Identify the most critical tasks for both your thesis and job search. Determine which tasks require immediate attention and focus on those first.

•Break it down: Divide your thesis writing and job search into smaller, manageable tasks. This approach allows you to make steady progress while preventing overwhelm.

•Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals for each session, whether it’s writing a specific section of your thesis or submitting job applications. Celebrate small victories along the way to stay motivated.

2- Effective Communication

Maintaining open and effective communication with your advisor and potential employers is essential during this period.

Consider the following strategies:

• Regular meetings with your advisor: Schedule regular meetings with your thesis advisor to discuss your progress, seek guidance, and address any challenges you may encounter. Keeping your advisor informed about your job search can help manage expectations.

•Be transparent with potential employers: When you reach the interview stage with potential employers, be transparent about your ongoing Ph.D. commitments. Discuss your timeline for completion and express your dedication to balancing both responsibilities effectively.

Read More: How to Conduct Community Member Research Interviews?

3- Networking

Networking plays a vital role in both your academic and professional endeavors. Leverage networking opportunities to advance both your thesis and job search:

• Attend conferences and workshops: Participate in academic conferences, workshops, and seminars related to your field of study. This not only enhances your research but also provides opportunities to network with professionals who may be interested in your work or offer job leads.

• Join professional associations: Become a member of relevant professional associations or organizations within your field. Engage in their activities, attend events, and connect with fellow members who can offer support and guidance during your job search.

• Seek support from peers and mentors: Reach out to fellow Ph.D. candidates, recent graduates, and mentors who have successfully navigated the thesis writing and job search process. Their insights, experiences, and advice can provide valuable guidance and support during this period.

4- Utilize Online Resources

In today’s digital age, numerous online resources can assist you in managing your thesis and job search effectively:

•Online project management tools: Utilize project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Microsoft Planner to create task lists, set deadlines, and track your progress for both thesis writing and job search activities.

Read More: How is QuillBot used in Academic Writing?

•Online job platforms: Explore online job platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and academic job boards to find suitable job opportunities. Set up job alerts to stay updated on relevant postings.

•Virtual job fairs and webinars: Participate in virtual job fairs and webinars hosted by universities, professional associations, or industry-specific organizations. These events provide valuable networking opportunities and insights into the job market.

5- Self-Care and Well-being

Don’t overlook the importance of self-care during this demanding period:

• Establish a self-care routine: Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones. These activities help maintain your physical and mental well-being, enabling you to perform at your best in both thesis writing and job search.

• Seek support: Lean on your support system, whether it’s friends, family, or fellow Ph.D. candidates. Share your challenges and concerns with them, as they can provide valuable advice, encouragement, and emotional support.

6- Tailor Your Job Search Strategy

To maximize your job search efforts, tailor your strategy to highlight your Ph.D. and research expertise:

• Craft a compelling CV: Create a curriculum vitae (CV) that showcases your academic achievements, research experience, publications, and relevant skills. Emphasize transferable skills such as project management, data analysis, and critical thinking.

• Customize cover letters: Tailor your cover letters to each job application, highlighting how your research and Ph.D. experience align with the requirements of the position.

•Seek out research-focused positions: Explore job opportunities that value research skills and align with your area of expertise. Consider positions in academia, research institutions, think tanks, or companies with R&D departments.

7- Leverage Transferable Skills

Your Ph.D. journey equips you with a wide range of transferable skills that are valuable in various professional settings:

•Analytical and problem-solving skills: Highlight your ability to analyze complex problems, think critically, and develop innovative solutions.

• Communication and presentation skills: Showcase your proficiency in presenting research findings, writing scientific papers, and effectively communicating complex ideas to diverse audiences.

Read More: Best AI Tools for Academic Research

• Project management skills : Demonstrate your capability to plan, execute, and manage complex projects independently.


Finding a balance between completing your Ph.D. thesis and embarking on a job search requires careful planning, effective time management, and clear communication.

By implementing the strategies discussed in this blog post, you can navigate this challenging period with greater ease and increase your chances of successfully achieving your academic and career goals.

Remember, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial, so be kind to yourself throughout the process.

phd thesis writing jobs

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  • dissertation tips
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  3. How To Write A PhD Thesis And Get A Job At The Same Time

    Jess sighed. "There are no jobs. All of us who are defending this year are looking for jobs, but it's just impossible to get one unless you have industry experience or know someone. If I had known how tough it would be to get a job, I would have just left with my Masters. It was a total mistake to come to grad school."

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  5. Finish Your PhD Thesis And Accelerate Your Job Search

    Here's how to finish writing your PhD thesis while advancing your career… 1. Write the most important part of your thesis first. NO - your abstract is not the most important part of your thesis. It's not the part you should write first, either. Neither is the introduction or literature review.

  6. A Guide to Writing a PhD Thesis

    A Guide to Writing a PhD Thesis. A PhD thesis is a work of original research all students are requiured to submit in order to succesfully complete their PhD. The thesis details the research that you carried out during the course of your doctoral degree and highlights the outcomes and conclusions reached. The PhD thesis is the most important ...

  7. 10 tips for writing a PhD thesis

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  8. How to write a PhD thesis: 13 Tips for PhD thesis writing

    written by Jennifer Ulz July 29, 2022 0 comment 0 Completing a successful PhD research thesis is extremely challenging, and how to write a PhD thesis is often a question in students' minds. Fret not, there are many ways to make the process of PhD thesis writing less bumpy.

  9. How to Balance Between PhD Thesis Writing and Job Search?

    Pursuing a PhD is a significant undertaking that requires immense dedication, perseverance, and time. However, for many research scholars, the process is further complicated by the need to balance PhD thesis writing with the demands of searching for future job opportunities. It can be a challenge, but with careful planning, effective time management, and a proactive approach, it is possible to ...

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    Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don't get discouraged by this process. It's typical. Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.

  12. What Is a Thesis?

    Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023. A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience.

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    Embarking on a PhD is "probably the most challenging task that a young scholar attempts to do", write Mark Stephan Felix and Ian Smith in their practical guide to dissertation and thesis writing. After years of reading and research to answer a specific question or proposition, the candidate will submit about 80,000 words that explain their methods and results and demonstrate their unique ...

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    Thesis writing is a skill that every PhD candidate must acquire to convey his or her research findings clearly. The main objective of this paper is to facili-tate the thesis writing process so that PhD candidates understand what a PhD thesis is and can write their thesis correctly and scientifically.

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    The most difficult step in writing a PhD thesis is getting started. Lack of academic writing skills and uncertainty about PhD thesis writing guidelines leads to procrastination, self-doubt, and anxiety. This article lists writing tips for PhD students to write a great first draft of their PhD thesis.

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    This excitement will motivate you to continue working hard to finish your thesis and publications quickly. 2. Diversify your technical skills through new projects. There are two ways to diversify your technical skills—by learning a new technique, or by finding a new application of a technique you already know.

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    into a PhD thesis | that is another story. It is all about writing a successful thesis and enjoying the viva. Let's get started! 2 Writing a thesis At the point of writing up, PhD students are unlikely to have written many theses: typically one to document an undergraduate nal year project and possibly another one at Master level.

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    1- Time Management Time management is crucial when balancing thesis writing and job search. Here are some tips to help you optimize your time: • Create a schedule: Establish a clear daily or weekly schedule that allocates specific time slots for thesis writing and job search activities.


    Complete and successfully defend a dissertation (18-30 hours of ECE 600) A doctoral dissertation, which is the culmination of an original and substantive research effort by the candidate, must be completed and publicly defended. This study is done under the supervision of a dissertation supervisor and dissertation committee. A dissertation

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    Dual Degree vs Double Major. Combined masters and PhD programs are not to be confused with double majors or two degrees at the same academic level. A conjoined Masters/PhD program blends two postgraduate programs in areas such as: Business administration. Law.... Margaret Weinhold. Published on August 25, 2023. Learn more about our editorial process.

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    In 1960 V.G.Kadyshevsky graduated from the University and continued his studies as a post-graduate at the Chair of N.N.Bogoliubov. In 1962 V.G.Kadyshevsky successfully defended his PhD Thesis and started his work at the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics of JINR. ... Congratulations to prof. Profumo with our wishes of a great Job! International ...